New 3D Workstation - 4600$ budget



 I am starting my own design studio and this workstation will be my first big hardware investment besides the software.
 My budget limit is 3000-3500EUR (ca.US 4600$) and the parts/PC should be available in Europe preferably, to exclude big shipping costs, customs, warranty issues and so on. 
 [b]Tools I will use on a daily basis:[/b]
 [b]Rhino3D ver4/5: [/b]
 ca. 70% of the time for 3D modeling/shading, ranging from simple 3D models like a hair drier 
 to complete notebook models with internals and wallthickness with a file size of ca. 200MB for example.
 [b]Keyshot 4[/b] (mainly CPU ussage for realtime renderer): 
 ca. 30% of the time rendering the models mentioned above and turntable animations of the hairdrier for example. for the notebook I would obviously only import the visible parts :)
 [b]Adobe CS5/6 [/b](not sure yet which one to buy): creating photoshop renderings with 30+ layers at 300DPI/A4 and retouching renderings etc.
 [b]Tools I will normally use at the end of a project or for more complex animations or video editing, but not daily required:[/b]
 [b]3D Studio Max:[/b] Renderings/animations 1-5% of the time for more complex animations of the notebook or hairdrier for example.
 [b]Premiere/AE[/b]: Editing renderings/animations 1-5% of the time for more complex animations of the notebook or hairdrier for example.
 [b]Sooooooo..... ;)
 First big question:[/b]
 i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz [b]VS. 2x [/b]Intel Xeon E5-1650 @ 3.20GHz
 some background on why I chose the E5-1650 from all Xeons, it is the best performance vs price according to: []( 
 [b]Second big question:[/b]
 nvidia GTX680/690/Titan VS. nvidia Quadro K4000 (would the K2000 also be fine?)
 Please consider I will be mainly modeling/shading in Rhino, so viewport performance is important [b]but[/b] at the same time also Keyshot will demand a lot of processor power to render the product shots.
 How does the viewport perfromance relate in Keyshot? Is it also only CPU based?
 RAM: something between 16-32GB, ECC@1600? depending on cores of the final setup in the end, or? 
 HDD: primary a fast samsung SSD with 256gb, secondary ideally the same + additional 1TB data backup
 MOBO: the one that fits best after the main components are chosen?
 This is so far from my research, I would love to hear your feedback on what you think would fit best to the budget and applications I plan to use on a daily base.
 Many thanks in advance!


Hi all,

I just found out that the Xeon E5-1650 can not be used as a dual setup… :frowning:
and any combination of dual cores + the components I want to add go over my budget so I have found this setup:

Workstation Xeon E5-1650

Case: Coolermaster - Silencio 650 Pure, noise reduction.

CPU: Intel Xeon E5-1650, 6x 3.20GHz
MB: ASUS P9X79 WS, Intel X79
GPU: PNY NVIDIA Quadro K4000 3GB

RAM: 32GB Kingston Registered ECC DDR3-1333 (4x 8GB)

SSD: 2x 128GB Samsung 840 Pro Series
HDD: 1TB WD Caviar Black

DVD: LG CH10LS28 Blu-Ray Combo
Power: 650W - Corsair HX Professional

Sound: HD-Audio Onboard

CPU-Cooling: Scythe Mugen 4

OS: Windows 7 Professional, 64 Bit

Price: $4250.-US or 3200.- EUR

What do you think of this setup vs the aimed work tasks? Or should I change some of the components?

Any feedback is welcome! :slight_smile:




You might as well get the i7-3930K which has an unlocked multiplier which would be easier to overclock should you want to. They are otherwise the same processor and the same cost. I wouldn’t bother with ECC memory with only four sticks. Why two SSD instead of one? I’d also get a bigger hard drive, a 2TB or 3TB are not that much more money. The Intel stock cooler is sufficient if you don’t plan to overclock the processor.


the 3930k doesn’t come with a stock cooler. It’s just the CPU


thanks for your feedback guys!


yes, the i7-3930K I have also in mind, and I am looking also there for some nice setups.

Still I am not sure which CPU+GPU I should go for, regarding my needs.
But now that I can not go for a dual solution, maybe the i7 makes more sense over a singleXeon E5-1650 @ 3.20GHz?

point taken on the ECC, I am not that savyy in the finer details, so I have to rely on what the vendor is offering when I customize the workstation, what alternative can you recommend?

2 SSD: the idea behind is a very old-school one :wink: one is for the OS + software only, the other for the WIP files. So if one goes belly up, I still have something saved :slight_smile: good, no good?

additional HDD: sure, I just wanted to keep it close to my initial budget and I can get this also later on. besides I have some external backup drives too.


I do not know about this detail, but I will need the workstaion to be pre-fab or custom built by a professional, as I dont have the skills/time to build it up completely by myself.

Thats also why it is quite difficult to find a PC that has all those “desired” parts in one system at a reasonable price.

If anybody knows a custom PC builder with a good price/performance ratio in the EU, please let me know :slight_smile:

If you guys had to choose, what would you go for, regarding the work to be performed as described in the initial post?

A: Xeon E5-1650, 3.20GHz + Quadro K4000

B: Xeon E5-1650, 3.20GHz + evga gtx 770

C: i7-3930K, 3.20GHz + Quadro K4000

D: i7-3930K, 3.20GHz + evga gtx 770


Looking at the i7-3930K, I found this setup:

Workstation i7-3930K

Case: Midi-Tower

CPU: Intel i7-3930K, OC @ 6x 4,2GHz (under warranty)
MB: ASUS P9X79 WS, Intel X79
GPU: PNY NVIDIA Quadro K4000 3GB

RAM: 64GB (8x8GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3 CL10 1600

SSD: 1x 128GB Samsung 840 Pro Series
HDD: 1TB Western Digital WD1000DHTZ VelociRaptor SATA3

DVD: LG CH10LS28 Blu-Ray Combo
Power: 650W Corsair TX650V2 Enthusiast

Sound: HD-Audio Onboard

CPU-Cooling: Phanteks PH-TC14PE

OS: Windows 7 Professional, 64 Bit

Price: $4400.-US or 3340.- EUR

Is this something compared to the previous Xeon setup?


That entire machine is a total waste of money.

  • The quadro is going to do nothing for any of the apps you listed. If you were a heavy 3ds max user then it might make a smidge of sense, but you say you use it 1-5% of the time, so its not worth it in the slightest

  • The SSD is tiny, youll fill it rapidly and the small size will annoy you

  • Raptor drives are a technological dead end. theyre small, expensive, noisy and slower than the SSD. If you want lots of fast capacity, stick two harddrives in a RAID 0, it will be faster, cheaper, larger and quieter than the raptor. If speed is the thing you want, just get a larger SSD.


I’m with Mash.

128GB 840pro = waste of money.
840Pro are amazing drives in the 256 and 512, in the 128 OCZ beats them on performance and value. Regardless, if you want to use it as a buffer for some large comp files or playback, or even just for peace of mind and not constantly struggling for space, I’d sooner buy a 256 non pro 840 than a pro 128.

1TB raptor is a waste of money when you can buy 3 old red disks and get a better read (slower write though) with raid5 and extremely high safety (compared to a single raptor), or a couple middle end drives and stripe them (if you’re willing to take the risk) for better across the board performance and a ton more space.

For the ram vengeance tends to be overpriced and annoyingly tall. Ivy and Haswell also seem to like 1866 best.
I’d sooner go with the cheaper 1866 G.Skill (Ares is excellent value for money and low profile) than with old Corsair.

Quadro for what you list, especially if you ever use max in dx mode, another waste of money, and the k4k is aging quickly, not to mention has an appallingly small number of units on board for the price.


What apps are worth of Quadro?
I remember old days with MAX 9 and Quadro 1500 it was amazing difference beetween GTO7900 and Quadro 1500, for theQ.
Nowadays there is no more MAXtreme driver, and it seems GTX= Quadro for 3DS MAX?


@ThE_JacO and imashination

Thanks for your feedback too.

Alright, it looks like I have to start at the beginning with the setup of the workstation :wink:

Rhino5 is an OpenGL app, where the main power is used to draw the viewports and shade these while modeling.

Keyshot is all about the processor power and almost no GPU power at all (at least that’s what Keyshot says)

Points taken on the RAM, smallish SSD and HDD. I will research these components again once I have a clear view on the processor and GPU.

So in order to do so and regarding Rhino5/Keyshot, what processor (i7 or xeon?) would you guys suggest and what GPU, so the PC gets the best of both worlds?


I see no reason in the world to go for a single CPU xeon for a CGI DCC workstation. Get an i7/i7k.

I haven’t heard of Rhino having issues with GTX cards in years, nor it using DP, the only severely crippled part of (non titan) gtx vs quadro.

Get a 770 or a 780 if you can afford it, or step down to a 670 or a 680 if you can’t.

There’s no need to find every possible stretch of upgrade imaginable to deplete your budget IMO, unless it’s something at work and saving on a budget will introduce a cut of the same the following year (in which case go splash out on a Titan, or a Quadro K6000, but don’t buy older quadros).


I’d wait a couple months for the new Xeons to come out and see what the landscape looks like then. There will be 12-core single CPU Xeons that will greatly outperform an overclocked 3930K.


That’s not strictly true, not across the board, not when you have a budget.

The 12 core ones (2695 and 2697 v2) will most likely be clocked at 2.4 and 2.7, and are expected to retail off tray for 3.5 to 4.5 grands EACH. They are also targeted to be low TDP (farm scenario)

They are likely to do great at rendering if you’re in a hurry AND on an unlimited budget, AND happen to be working on something that has medium to low low threading bottlenecks, but they will be HORRIBLE cycle per dollar and poor single threaders, so if you plan on a workstation to do work on they are very far from ideal, or even what I’d consider good. They are just not meant for what we do.

The ones that might be of interest on a workstation will have 8-10 cores (E5-2643 and 87W v2), but be ready to pay over a grand each (tray, hard to tell what it will be like once it trickles to the individual) for a locked CPU with TDPs of 130 to 150W, and wait until mid September at least (which you do mention :slight_smile: ).

For someone starting their own thing and with a budget of less than 5k to be a one man band it’d be a grand waste of money, a more capable single CPU box and a secondary mini server/renderbox would be much better for the same investment.


alright, having looked at your feedback and some other rigs, here the new setup:


Intel Core i7-3930K


32GB-Kit G.Skill RipJawsZ PC3-19200U CL10-12-12-31

EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked w/ACX, 3GB DDR5, PCI-Express

Seagate Barracuda 7200 3000GB, SATA 6Gb/s

Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB SATA 6Gb/s

OCZ Vector 256GB

Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev.A (BW)


Win7 Pro

Super-Flower SF600P14XE Golden Green 80plus gold

Corsair Obsidian Series 650D, ATX

is this going in the right direction now?
at a total of US $3700.- or 2799.- EUR… so almost 1k to spend on a nice aeron chair :slight_smile:


It’ll be fine.
For SSD buy the 840Pro, best drive in the price range. OCZ over 840 only holds for 128.

For Ram honestly I’d buy Ares and save the difference, there’s very, very little difference even in OCing results between ripjaws and ares, RAM for intel is simply NOT the bottleneck or even an enabler anymore.
It’s only gonna be a few bucks, but why waste money? Honestly, the difference is literally none. You’d be hard pressed to find a very artificial, e-peen stroking one if you had a benchmark fetish for ramtest alone :slight_smile:

Unless it’s easier to find ripjaws or the same exact price, in which case, sure, go for it, just don’t think it’ll make any difference over even an unbranded 1866C10 :slight_smile:


Looking good, I’ve never heard of that PSU unit though, and the one thing you really don’t want to skimp on is your psu.

Might be worth having a look at this one by Seasonic, very well reputed psu manufacturer:

750w, and cheaper (at least on the amazon uk site)


Ok, thanks for reviewing the setup ThE_JacO + mattmos! :slight_smile:


Setup looks good, just curious as to why two different brands of similar SSD? I’d be more inclined to pick a single 512 gig SSD, it will be more useful in the future with a larger single capacity, the same way its best to get 2x 8 gig sticks of ram instead of 4x 4 gig ones. Same result now, but youll wish you had bought the larger capacity further down the line.


For the ram I see listed a 32GB ripjaw kit, that’d be 4x8GB.
I hadn’t noticed the dual SSD, yeah, that’d be a bit odd and likely wasteful. Maybe when I read I read it as option 1 and option 2 (in which case 840 pro).

The one situation I could make sense of it for is if one was solely dedicated as an online/cache kind of drive, but it’d probably still be more flexible and better value to buy a 512 and repartition it as needed. Sort of… actually undecided about that :slight_smile:


The 2nd different drive was to test another SSD brand that is expected to be super fast.
But I have chosen not to and now all will be Samsung pro SSDs, no time to “test” being this my only working rig :wink:

still my idea is to separate the OS+apps (1 SSD) from the project data files in a separate SSD to minimize data loss if one SSD goes mad. right now I am also looking for an efficient back-up solution in addition to the installed HDDs or SSDs. do you guys have any sugguestions on this?

as for the RAM, in one forum or pdf sheet I read that the best allocation of RAM for this mainboard is to fill 4 banks instead of 2 or an odd number, so for now 4x8 GB.